Unofficial ballot returns show a majority of voters in one of Alaska's most eroded communities want to move to safer ground from their tiny island home.

The Inupiat Eskimo village of Shishmaref held a special election Tuesday asking residents if they should develop a new community at a nearby mainland location or stay put with added environmental protections.

The city clerk says the unofficial count is 89 in favor of moving and 78 voting to stay. She says that count does not include absentee or special needs ballots.

The vote is essentially advisory because either scenario would cost millions — money the impoverished community of nearly 600 people doesn't have. The village 600 miles northwest of Anchorage ultimately will have to search for funding to make the choice a reality.